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Don'€™t fear competition in ASEAN Economic Community: Jokowi

  • The Jakarta Post

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Fri, November 27, 2015 | 03:44 pm
Don'€™t fear competition in ASEAN Economic Community: Jokowi President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.(setneg.go.id)

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.(setneg.go.id)

Business leaders and the people should not be afraid of entering the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) next year, said President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo.

He called on all parties to first identify their weaknesses in detail to brace themselves for the new era.

"Competition is like warfare; to win it, we need to prepare the ammunition first. For instance, [we need to] measure [our] strengths and weaknesses using economic indicators. It is the numbers that I think are better [here] than in other countries. Our inflation last year was 8.2 percent; this year [it] is estimated to be between 3.5 and 3.8 percent," Jokowi said in his opening speech at a CEO forum in Jakarta on Thursday as quoted by setkab.go.id.

He said the government continued to build infrastructure such as toll roads, railways and the sea toll roads, adding that more efforts were needed to improve connectivity between the country's islands.

"These efforts are needed to decrease logistics costs, which eventually will decrease the price of goods. If not, well, the costs will remain as they are today," said Jokowi.

He also said that Indonesia needed to start exporting finished goods.

"We can no longer export raw cacao, crude palm oil, aluminum, bauxite; we need to start downstreaming and industrialization," Jokowi said.

He went on to say that up to 60 percent of Indonesia'€™s workforce had an educational background of elementery school, junior high school, high school or vocational senior high school (SMK).

"That means, we need labor-intensive investment. We don't want to open investment that depletes natural resources," said Jokowi.

"Once more, do not be afraid of competition. Other heads of states have been whispering; they are afraid of us. They are afraid [of the prospects] of Indonesian products entering their countries." (kes)(+)